Not Forcing

The Summer of Me took a turn down a different road; the things I had hoped to achieve physically, thwarted by health issues. Perhaps the barriers were raised because the roots of planning grew from negative soil. Soil in a field rife with self-judgment, and skewed views of the way things needed to be in order to be pleased with myself –  if I could just be the weight I want to be; if I could be shape and size I want to be, things will be much better; I will feel better about Me.

Self, the all-knowing Mother, so calm around the bouncing, impatient child Ego, says in translucent tones, “No honey, this is not what you should be doing right now.”

Impetuous child. She pouts, thinks she knows better and does it anyway.

It has been “settle down time” for a while. In it, gentle daily lessons and reminders of self-acceptance. Doing as I please in moderation, even though it is often accompanied by a certain unease; breathing into being with the transitory nature of now.

Soon, when I am confident of my health, I will return to the road I had started upon. I should take Self with me; she will be an invaluable guide and a steadying force in the company of a headlong kid.

Mother and Child; Self and Ego.

Manifest my drum set

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Law of Abundance.

I like to walk at a nearby horse farm that has a long trail through woods, and across fields, and which, at points, neighbors with back gardens. I have walked by the houses and lusted after pools, cabanas, patios and decks. Nothing extravagant, but certainly nice. I have felt jealousy, and bitterness and lack in my heart, and not just at these possessions but toward other peoples’ successes. It’s how we judge ourselves and each other, even the most spiritual of us who are not monks in a monastery would have to admit to a slight inkling of the ego’s darker nature.

It was one evening that I walked by the same back gardens and caught myself having the same thoughts. “When will we…?” “Why can’t we…?” “Will we ever…”? “Ugh, These people are so lucky…” It was then that the Law of Abundance principle popped into mind; a practice which I understand but have trouble instituting consistently.

I guess it’s a double-edged sword on a personal level; having been in a position of absolute financial wreckage with a family to support, the overtones of which still waver around. It’s challenging to maintain the belief that what you want can be yours simply by believing, envisioning and feeling that they truly already are. But, I also have a natural bent toward believing that these sorts of things actually work. In fact, I have a very good friend who practices this manifestation belief daily, and she is quite successful.

So, I joined a group on Facebook to help buoy my abundant side; took part in a ‘manifest $200’ for the day and promptly got a $600 bill from the dentist, which is sort of funny now but definitely was not at the time.the-creator1

I’m not one to be deterred or downtrodden very often so I set about consciously practicing daily gratitude for all the things I have. This is where it begins; truly appreciating that what we have is all we need. We don’t have a lot of money but we are able through one avenue or another, to provide a summer of fun for ourselves and the kids. It may not be a Caribbean vacation or at trip to Disney but it’s more than we could have done in years gone by. We live in a great, little neighborhood with an abundance of friends for our kids, and with watchful eyes, and texting parents, they are able to stay out until bedtime. We are blessed in many ways, and we are rich with love. More and more these days, I think and believe that I have everything I need.

With all that taken care of on a daily basis, I would now like to manifest a book written by me on the bestseller list, and a drum set for my husband. Actually, I think I want the drum set more than the book because watching him practice a beloved rusty skill would be all I’d need.

A book would be cool, though, so I’d better get back to practicing, writing, imagining, believing, trusting, hoping, creating, and loving.  Consistently.  Decisively.

Peaks to Valleys

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Carefree to careworn overnight. It’s been coming for a while; another rolling wave crashing upon a peaceful shore, threatening the careful facade, and fragile sandcastles.

The same old, same old worries and frustrations that dog us, bark alongside us, remind us of our position of lack, make it so difficult to turn that canine on its head, and find ways to express our needs and wants from a positive position.

The routinely outturned pockets, offering fluffy nothings. Holey clothes, children’s worn shoes wincing as for bike brakes. Desperate for respite.

The wave builds. The alcoholic crutch returns. The creeping excuses, and rationalizations. Building, building. Disgruntled. Self-judgment. More wine, please. More chips, please. Enabler, enabled.

And crash…

Tucked away today, in my cave. Tired. Thinking. Planning. Determined. Trying not to berate.

Dammit. Summer’s coming. Back on the clean wagon. Must to be fiercely erecting barricades all around to stop from falling off.

I hope I can still see the scenery through the gaps.

 

Gooses and Ganders

The bodypump instructor looks at me as we’re coming to the end of the class. Training our shoulders is the last thing we do with weights. Contrary to her recommendation, I have not loaded my bar. In fact, throughout the entire class, I have put whatever weight I feel comfortable with on that bar. I don’t hold with the run of the mill mindset that heavier is better. That the more you lift, the stronger you will become. Sure, your body will adapt over time but I don’t want to do that, I’m fine with a lighter weight, and lots of reps. She looks at me, and I see a sort of chiding in her eyes. We are both English too, so there’s a weird connection, as if we are comrades and I should do as she does because we are of the same cloth.

I run through a list of silly excuses if anyone should ask, because I feel that everyone sees even though I know that even if they do notice, what they have seen will be forgotten as soon as they leave. I think I can tell them that I am recovering from surgery, or an illness, or that my doctor has warned me to take things slowly. I laugh at myself for doing this, and for second guessing my actions. But it’s too late, I don’t have time to put extra weight on just to follow the herd. So, I carry on and I can feel my muscles working, and it is good. The next day, and the day after, I know that I didn’t slack off really because everywhere is sore anyway.

The other mother approaches the bus stop one morning last week. I am wearing my three quarter length workout pants, sneakers and a sweatshirt. I am planning on going for a run immediately after work, and there will be no time to change. Plus, my boss is out of town so I can pretty much wear what I like. But, I’m conscious that the pants are a bit too flary around the shins. I have never been able to find the regular leggings that fit past the knee. Frankly with my hips, I don’t think it would be a good look for me anyway. I watch the other mother but she doesn’t notice that I see her look at me from the waist down. I wonder what she thinks. Does she think that my thighs are too big? Or that the pants make my ankles look skinny? Or that I must have the day off because I’m dressed in workout clothes?

Later on, I take my first full run outside. The first for the year. It is hard work. I run much of the course the first time around. The second time, however, I walk more than I run. I wonder how the other mother is so slim.

I am an observant person. I notice the little things; looks, actions, and behavior of other people. I’m good at that. Maybe it’s a trait of the writer’s mind.

I am becoming more observant of the inside, too. The wagging finger and bullying voice that try hard to convince me that what these people see and think of me is important to me. That I must conform. That I must believe what I perceive. That I must believe what the thoughts are thinking up.

I was easily bent to their will as a teenager and twenty-something.  How glad am I that now, in my forties, I am able to set those things aside and do what is right for me.

Huzzah!

Harnessing the wrong horse

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Doubt. I named it. Immediately after an impromptu inner pep talk. During the talk, a fact so certain and real lit up my heart.  It brought forth a brief, and not often felt certainty and acknowlegement. Couldn’t help but smile. Was allowed to view truth.

Doubt is crafty; often barely heard or seen or felt. The inner dialog hums like the continued strum of a guitar chord and doubt weaves its way in and around the sound.

Doubt is devious. It grabs like a wretched Granny with a bony claw at memories it knows will capture your attention, and throws a harness over the neck of that ill-flogged horse. This only serves to stall progress.

Doubt seeps into life in some form or another. Sometimes it’s palpable, “I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to carry anymore moving boxes.” Sometimes it’s trivial, “Hmmm…I don’t think the chicken’s gonna turn out the way I wanted.” And sometimes it’s a whisper, “Why can’t I…?” “I’ll never be able to…” “What’s wrong with me…?”

The self-doubt prose is so finely honed that we only become aware of it when we question the wheedling whine. We have to confront it, and shove it aside to reveal the treasures it doesn’t want to be discovered. It has no choice but to step aside when faced with truth.

The trick then, is to remember that fleeting feeling of gloriousness from a potential met. That solid gold in the heart like light pouring from an open book.

Remember it. Feel it. Doubt will reel from it. And that worn historical horse can go live out its days in pasture.

All About the Goat.

It’s been a ‘taking time’ sort of year. That sounds wrong, as if I had snatched time away. So I guess I’d rather say I have been working on ‘being with time.’

Monsieur Goaty Goat

Monsieur Goaty Goat

This goat is the perfect example of my being with time. During soccer season, my husband drove our son to practice and to coach, and on alternate nights, I drove our daughter. The fields were located at the end of a long driveway that wound through a place stuck in time. I thought it was the coolest thing: decayed buildings with worn pictures of what looked like British Colonial Indian men wearing turbans and holding rifles. We drove by an abandoned miniature golf course, and just past that, a large penned in structure with peacocks, chickens, horses in a field beyond, and this fat goat.

It became a ritual for my daughter and I to hope that the goat was hovering at the entrance gates. Most nights he was, and we were the only ones to stop the car, get out, and say hello. The goat didn’t give a shit, of course. Merely sniffed an outstretched hand, turned and trotted off to his perch. But I loved that we did that, even as other soccer moms raised eyebrows driving by, I loved it.

Being with time was sometimes a struggle; during our moving crisis, it felt narrow and tense. Many other times, I argued with it; wanted it to speed up so that healing could be done faster; anger and resentment would fade quicker. But time goes at its pace, and we must go with it. Like the one lane road we often find ourselves traveling on, stuck behind the slow driver with no passing allowed.

In the roominess of the space I sit when I’m feeling at peace, I see how valuable this particular year has been. I will admit to clinging to certain sufferings and still, I’m not sure why. They aren’t ready to be understood yet, so I am still…always…continually…learning to accept them. But when they rise up I can lash out; I’m working on that. But mostly, time for this year has been so beneficial to the most loving relationship next to self, and that is with my husband.

Bidding adieu to 2013, a time of learning, growing, stretching, understanding, loving, fearing, anger, detaching, resentment, judging, wishing ill-will, forgiving, apologizing, making peace, reaching out, hoping, wishing, hugging, kissing, making love, creating, writing, expanding, thinking, separating, dancing, crying, seeking truth, breaking, sitting, mindfulness, meditating, thanking, gratitude.

2014 will no doubt, bring more of the same, although with a little less financial crunchiness, and that’s just fine.

Now for a little bit of visual feastiness:  My favorite video of the year. The song by itself is ok, but when I watch it with the video, it makes me so happy.

Lose Yourself to Dance. Why? Because, really, it’s just a wonderfully, uninhibited, freeing, soul-reviving thing to do.

Peace to you All.  Keep Dancing!

See past the bathrobe

There is a woman who walks with her two sons to the bus stop every morning.  She wears a faded, puffy pink bathrobe and carries a mug of hot liquid.  She has the kind of walk that makes you think she’s got attitude, like she doesn’t give a shit what you think of her; she’s comfy and that’s all that matters.  The first few times, my internal eyebrow shot up and I thought she was ‘one of those women’ that blabbered to all and sundry about achievements and what she’d been up to and generally just being nosy.  I judged her, I admit it.  Because I’m the opposite.  I would never been seen outside in my bathrobe.  Perhaps if I lived in England still, I might be seen opening the front door to retrieve a pint of milk on the doorstep before sliding inside with a panoramic glance to see who might be watching.  I am not that visually comfy sort of person.  And because this woman was so different, I turned my nose up and away.

It nagged at me, my reaction to her; she kept invading my thoughts.  This morning, as I bent over to dry my hair, I brought it forward like a subject to his master and decided to consciously process my reaction to her presence in order to find the love instead of perpetuating the cycle of mental sneering.

Today, I waited with my kids and she sauntered toward the bus stop, sans hot liquid but still fully swathed in the bathrobe.  And, today we had a conversation.  It began with the flyers for the lost kitty stuck on all the lampposts then moved to the roofers who had come to fix and repair all around the community, and finally ended with her asking how my weekend was, very sincerely. We commiserated over the never ending loop of laundry, soccer practice and matches, housework and food prep.  She explained the circumstances that allow her an hour of freedom every morning after the kids get on the bus and before she has to go to work.  I bonded with the fact that I have the same hour after work but before the kids get off the bus.

She is a genuinely nice woman.  Chatty, open, warm and welcoming.  Not the sauntering, know-it-all, community gossip I had pegged her for.  Well, maybe she is, I don’t know her that well but in taking the first step to blowing up preconceptions, I am closer to being happy in myself.  And I am loving that.  So much.

However, this does not mean that I shall be walking my kids to or from the bus stop in any kind of clothing that should be worn prior to or after bedtime and shower.  Just so you know.

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